When one of the best tales of the tennis season are collated on the finish of 2023, Matija Pecotic’s journey on the Delray Beach Open will definitely be amongst them.
The 33-year-old has a full-time job because the Director of Capital Markets for an actual property funding firm and is No. 784 within the Pepperstone ATP Rankings. So how did he find yourself in the primary draw of an ATP Tour occasion for the primary time?
Pecotic by no means broke into the Top 1,000 within the ITF Junior Rankings, however he grew to become a star at Princeton University, the place he competed from 2009-13. The lefty was a three-time Ivy League Player of the Year and climbed as excessive as No. 2 within the school tennis rankings.
In 2014, the Croatian totally pursued skilled tennis and the next yr he ascended to a career-high World No. 206. But that was when he hit a roadblock. Just earlier than the 2016 Australian Open he had a small surgical procedure on his abdomen.
“[I] ended up getting a serious staph infection and I was basically bed-ridden for eight months,” Pecotic stated. “That changed the trajectory of my tennis timeline and my tennis career.”
The day without work gave him time to consider his future. Pecotic determined to take a seat for the GMAT examination and apply for enterprise college with none expectations. He was accepted to Harvard Business School, inflicting a dilemma: proceed taking part in skilled tennis or hit the books. Pecotic, who has competed in qualifying in any respect 4 Grand Slams, selected the latter.
While at Harvard, Pecotic related with Andrew Rueb, a member of the Harvard males’s tennis teaching workers, and have become a volunteer assistant coach.
“He said, ‘We hear you’re back on campus, we’d love to have you out with the guys.’ I had not been playing tennis for a while and he said you’re welcome to come out any time,” Pecotic recalled. “Soon enough I was with the guys six days a week and I started playing tennis again and I rediscovered my love for the game.”
Rueb, who in 2018 grew to become the top coach at Harvard, stated that Pecotic was clearly obsessed with tennis throughout his time in Massachusetts.
“We all felt like he had another few chapters left in his tennis career. He served as our volunteer coach for a year and made a big difference in our program by imparting some of his veteran experience to our younger guys. I’m so glad he took another swing and went back on tour,” Rueb stated. “Matija has a excessive aggressive IQ and that made him an incredible coach. On Tour, you want so many items these days to suit into place to interrupt the Top 100 and it’s a steep mountain to climb.
“Certainly Matija has a huge heart and loves the grind of working hard. His footwork is also world class. We thought he had a chance to make it in the pros but making a comeback is always hard – especially when you are in your late-20s. We wish him the best of luck at Delray Beach.”
After graduating from Harvard along with his diploma in hand, Pecotic allowed himself one yr to provide skilled tennis one other shot.
“I was playing the best tennis of my life,” Pecotic stated.
Although the lefty made progress, the Covid-19 pandemic closed that door. Now Pecotic is the Director of Capital Markets for Wexford Real Estate Investors, a subsidiary of the $4 billion funding agency Wexford Capital. He works a typical 9-6 schedule and tries to squeeze in tennis within the morning earlier than work.
“I absolutely love this game and I know it’s not forever and I’m 33. I try to maximise each day. I try to train every morning if I can, five, six times a week,” Pecotic stated. “Sometimes I train with my boss, who is 70 years old. This week I trained with a guy who is probably in his late 50s. But you find creative ways to work around it.”
Pecotic additionally hits the gymnasium every day and enjoys a run after work. That put him in adequate place to reap the benefits of the chance he obtained this weekend in Delray Beach. The Croatian signed in as an alternate for the qualifying draw Friday night and dropped off his racquets for stringing. He didn’t get in.
“I woke up on Saturday morning and I said, ‘I better drive down to Delray to pick up my tennis racquets.’ When I showed up, the supervisor said, ‘There’s a chance that you might get in’. So 30 minutes before the first match he said, ‘I think one guy’s going to pull out, but it’s not sure,’” Pecotic stated. “A pair minutes later he stated, ‘I think you’re within the match.’ Actually after I was going out to play [Stefan] Kozlov they introduced my identify because the man who was initially alleged to play, so that they stated Kozlov and Watanuki, however it was truly me. I ended up taking part in.
“I played a tough match and to beat Tennys [Sandgren in the second round of qualifying] is a real special treat, but totally unexpected. I’m just enjoying it and going as far as I can. And if not, I’ll go back to work!”
What was it wish to qualify? “Just sort of a moment of disbelief,” he stated.
Pecotic will attempt to prolong his fairytale run on Tuesday when he performs former World No. 8 Jack Sock.
Did You Know?
Pecotic was on Croatia’s United Cup group this yr. “I love the format, I hope it keeps going and I think there are going to be a lot of good matches in the coming years,” he stated. “It’s a great way to start the year, too.”
Source web site: www.atptour.com